Small Shops, Great Finds

This Christmas, Shop Local

text by Fiona Clarke

Buying from a locally owned business is a good idea. Not only is parking easier and the crowds more manageable, but independent stores often carry unique items that you’re not likely to find at a national chain. Plus, when you shop local, you’re investing in our community and acknowledging the retailers who are working to make the Valley a one-of-a-kind place to live. Here are seven local shops, described in detail, where you’re bound to find the perfect presents you’ve been hoping for. Store hours vary, so best to check before venturing out.

Above: Located at 44th & Camelback, urbAna highlights products that relate to our casual desert lifestyle.

Tucked away in the shopping center at 44th and Camelback you’ll find urbAna. Carefully curated by owners Brian and Ana Wells, this delightful boutique is geared toward everything one might need to entertain. Also, wanting to be your go-to shop for gifts, the couple highlight products that relate to our casual desert lifestyle. The selections are modern, very cool and lean towards natural, beige-grey hues. You’ll find unique books such as Art of the Cheese Plate that discuss way of presenting food, as well as books for  preparing it. There are sections for stylish, yet affordable, glassware, dinnerware, serving pieces, barware, kitchen tools and flatware. Table napkins and placemats, aprons and tea towels often have clever illustrations. The pantry offers condiments such as delicate French sea salt from Île de Ré and caramels made from all-organic ingredients. Please take notice of the area devoted to party items. The selection of paper plates, napkins and cups will have you break free from using boring white styrofoam ever again.

Above: Rather than a myriad of trendy stuff, Camelback Flowershop offers simple and well-crafted gift options.

Under the guidance of owner and operator Teresa Wilson, CF’s talented designers create unique and beautiful arrangements using only the freshest, most superior flowers. But, this jewel of a store is much more than a flower shop. Wilson remarks, “If Modern-Industrial and Flowershop-Greenhouse had a love child, the result would be Camelback Flowershop.” Gift options are plentiful and some of Wilson’s favorites include minimalist-designed German watering cans, LA-based luxury candles, hand-crafted garden shears, Blackwing pencils, brass cocktail shakers and bottle openers, cutting boards, Poglia knives and local treats including freshly baked cookies, mole glazed pecans, caramels to-die-for and the best dark chocolate on the planet. “We have a way about constantly discovering, inventing and offering well-made, thoughtful gifts,” Wilson continues. “We would rather offer simple and well-curated gift options rather than a myriad of trendy stuff…it’s simplicity at it’s best.”

Above: At Bungalow, the wide variety of wares are displayed in some 25 vignettes.

Bungalow, located near the Scottsdale Airpark, is known for its casual, comfortable, relaxed style. The wide variety of wares are displayed in some 25 ever-changing vignettes that help the customer to envision the items in their home. The furniture offerings include upholstered sofas, chairs and ottomans; dining, bedside, side and end tables, cabinets, rugs, lighting, mirrors and linens. Accessories from accent pillows and throws, to framed artwork complement each setting. Fashion, design, architecture, art, travel and cookbooks from the notable publishing houses of Rizzoli, teNeues, Abrahms, Taschen and Assouline are everywhere. There is a wide assortment of fragrant candles and diffusers, serving dishes, precious boxes of every size, shape and material, vases, urns, glassware, soaps, woven baskets and unique objets. A jewelry case holds stylish, high-end earrings, bracelets and necklaces, many with precious stones and finishes.

Above: In addition to an impressive grouping of fashion-forward apparel, Stephanie’s is a great place to find unique gifts.

What began as a small design studio and retail concept in 1999 has evolved into a premier lifestyle boutique. Stephanie’s, on Marshall Way in Old Town Scottsdale, offers a luxury shopping experience rarely found outside the fashion hubs of Los Angeles and New York. Recently named as one of “The Most Beautiful Independent Stores in America” by Architectural Digest, Stephanie’s chic vibe is evident from the shop’s sleek physical space to the ultra-cool items available for purchase. In addition to an impressive grouping of fashion-forward apparel, Stephanie’s is a great place to find unique gifts. Art and décor-themed books from publishers such as Taschen, Assouline and Rizzoli fill the shop. Beauty products including Voyage et Cie candles, Patchology facial masks and Gamine scents share a place with denim by RE/DONE, Moussy and R13. Alongside Krewe sunglasses and Meredith Young Fine Jewelry, shoppers can peruse SLIP pillowcases, handbags by Hayward, an assortment of leather bound notebooks, wallets and note cards by Smythson of London and Parisian chocolates. 

Above: Since opening in 2013, Main Dish has become the go-to resource for all things tabletop.

Launched in 2013 by interior designer Matthew Boland, Main Dish has quickly become the go-to resource for all things tabletop. Nestled on Marshall Way in Old Town, Scottsdale, it is part store and part showroom. Customers can expect a warm welcome from brand ambassador Jennifer Davis as they peruse an array of unique items for the home, including cut-crystal vases, pitchers and bowls, sumptuous cashmere throws, Italian-crafted leather baskets, serving trays, unique throw pillows, bar accessories and fine linens. The showroom at the back of the shop is dedicated to an artful display of over 73 lines of dinnerware, flatware and stemware.Well-known luxury brands such as Hermès, Royal Limoges and Bernardaud, as well as little-known names from ateliers in Italy and France, are showcased. “We offer everything from casual, everyday dinnerware to holiday and formal pieces and everything in between,” explains Boland. As an extra perk, your purchases will be beautifully gift-wrapped, ready for giving.

Above: For The People has a tantalizing assortment of high-quality, modern-themed merchandise.

If you’re mad for all things midcentury modern, you likely are already familiar with For The People. Located on Central, just north of Camelback, owners Chad Campbell and Shawn Silberblatt selected Uptown Phoenix as home base. The store has a tantalizing assortment of high-quality, modern-themed merchandise – some from local craftspeople, some from small makers throughout the U.S. and some from international lines.”You won’t find pieces that are sold in big box stores here,” says Silberblatt. “Many of the goods come from brands that previously were either not available in Phoenix or were hard to find.” Taschen Books, Tom Dixon housewares, jewelry by local talent Heidi Abrahamson, metal sculptures from the estate of Al Beadle, Finell vessels, iittala bowls and platters, Ferrone glassware and hand-poured candles from Skeem Design are just some of treasures available.

Above: Need stocking stuffers? Head to the Phoenix Art Museum Store to check out the clever items at the register.

Shopping for holiday presents at the Museum Store will score you two gold stars; firstly, you are sure to find unique gifts and, secondly, the proceeds from your purchases will help support Phoenix Art Museum. As expected, there is a comprehensive selection of books for every art enthusiast as well as editions related to current and past exhibitions. A distinctive grouping of home décor items include bowls, serving dishes, vases and furnishings from the esteemed design firms of Alessi, iittala, Issey Miyake and Hermann Miller. Decorative pieces showcase local artists such as Nick Bernard’s ceramic orbs and Tom Philabaum’s hand-blown glass bowl. For others on your list, consider the design-themed jewelry, scarves, totes, neckties, placemats, pens, socks and T-shirts. For the young’uns, the children’s section is well-stocked with art books, toys, puzzles, dolls and paints. Need stocking stuffers? Be sure to check out the clever assortment of items by the register.